[Arm-netbook] Report from meeting with Seatron and another factory ...

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton luke.leighton at googlemail.com
Sun Apr 11 15:34:30 BST 2010

On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM, Adam Gill <madallig at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello!!

> Here is a report meeting with Seatron and another factory ...

 thanks adam - generally looks very positive.

> Any picture in
> this email  I have uploaded to my own sever as
> arm-netbook at lists.phcomp.co.uk takes a while to get approval and stay up
> there for a limited period only.
> 1. First factory visited
> a) This is another factory which looks like they are making a very simialr
> model - but after taking their unit apart, is a very different mother board
> and so-dimm.
> b) Here are the pictures:
> www.asiasourcing.net/ctpc89e/factory_1

 ok... aacctually, you can see the similarities: it's the same
original design, with modifications.  all the connectors are in the
same place.  the LVDS chip they've moved from middle to top-left; the
DM9000 ethernet is still in the same place.  they've removed the WIFI
PCI-e holder and replaced it with a USB connector.  i thiiiink they
moved one of the GL-850Gs over to the left side...

 ... but overall it's definitely the same "family" of designs.

> c) This so-dimm uses SIRF: 667MHz which also supports GPS. What  is the
> Linux support for this CPU?

 sparse and hard to find.  as in - doing google searches finds
absolutely nothing.

> d) They do not recommend the S5PC100/S5PC110 Cortex A8 833 mhz-1ghz as they
> say these CPU's are not mature enough for netbooks yet.

 noo, ruubbiiiish.  i'm running debian on the odroid developer
platform, and it's damn quick, and that's only an 833mhz not the 1ghz.

> e) They recommend Marvell 1.2 GHz as an alternative processor if a new
> so-dim was made .... which I believe they are referring to this one:
> http://www.marvell.com/products/processors/applications/pxa_168/pxa_168_pb.pdf
> ... and they say there is good Linux support??

 yes, but marvell require you to sign NDAs in order to get pricing and
hardware datasheets.  this makes it impossible to work with them.
thus, marvell and any marvell products are entirely ruled out until
marvell changes their policy.

> f) A new so-dim could be made by this factory together with a new
> motherboard to fit a 10.2" case if there was a MOQ of 5,000


> g) Some of the requests on this forum:
> http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?/topic/52705-help-needed-replicating-success-of-openpandora-for-a-netbooklaptop/
> are possible some of the non standard items are not possible.

 yep.  figured as much.

> h) Did not see an OS working on this sample as they had only one engineering
> sample.
> The current CT-PC89e so-dimm would not be compatible with this netbook as
> there are too many differences.

 yep.  they made a _lot_ of changes, it looks like.

> 2. Seatron
> So I actually  met up with the designers and manufacturers of the CT-PC89e.


> Here's a list of what was discussed, additional points and more info about
> the CT-PC89e ...
> 1. Linux Kernal Source code
> I showed Seatron my netbook with Debian Lenny and they looked impressed. I
> said this was the result of reverse engineering the Linux kernal source code
> and measuring the pin outs on the so-dimm etc...... and  I said it would be
> much easier if we had gotten the source code from them in the beginning.
> They are very uncomfortable about giving it to us .... silence ..........


> I said this was a very lengthy process of reverse engineering and then
> talked about all the advantages of getting the source code from them ....
> the details of which are in the many numerous emails sent out before and
> everyone has.
> As much as this goes against open source, in China it's different. Seatron
> does not want another factory to take the souce code and use it in their own
> device. I said to them that this would probably not happen, and anyway their
> hardware would need to work exactly the same as their hardware.

 preeciselyy, goood that you mentioned this.

> Seatron is
> now going to talk with the Nanjing software developers .... and we still
> have a chance to get it ... we have to be patient and if we don't, we still
> have our reversed engineered version which we can present to Seatron. I am
> talking with Seatron about a collaboration
> where we can help Seatron on the Linux kernal souce code and OS - so we have
> an option of mid-fun/ Debian/Ubuntu/Android/whatever ... which we can
> present to Seatron and they can offer their future buyers with.


> I quizzed Seatron with the sennario - what if we come to Seaton with our
> reversed-engineerd so-dimm with 1GHz processor etc etc  which works
> perfectly with the CT-PC89e - they said that would be great - then i said
> what is the difference then of giving us the kernal source code and us
> giving it to them - if the result is the same .... I said we will save them
> time and money etc etc .... and we would be offering them a very much
> improved linux kernal source code ..... etc etc ......... anyway I have to
> wait and see the result.


> 2. so-dimm
> a) I informed Seatron we are making an improved so-dimm with the specs
> already discussed. Also Seatron says the S5PC100/S5PC110  Cortex A8 833
> mhz-1ghz not mature enough for netbooks yet. Also only USB 1.1 is supported
> - nothing higher.

 rubbiiisshh.  gosh, they are really badly mis-informed.  the S5PCxxx
is basically an up-rated version of the S3C6410 - it has high-speed
USB 2 Host _and_ a 2nd USB port, USB-OTG.  samsung replaced the ARM11
core with the Cortex A8 one and then made some extra enhancements, but
essentially whatever you have on the S3C6410, you've got it on the
S5PCxxx with knobs, bells and sugar on top.

 oh - and you can use cheaper DDR2 RAM.

> They recommend S5pv210 1 GHz.

 *sigh* ok.  i'll speak with james.

>  and we also could use
> b) I have asked for any spare so-dimm's either populated or blank PCBA's or
> even damaged ones .... they did not have any floating around
> the office when I was there. I will push for these next week - I think we
> have a chance to get a few.

 good stuff.  as long as seatron don't do what the other factory did,
and do a complete redesign, it'll be good.

> 5. RJ45
> a) This is being improved for mass production - they know about the issues.


> 7.  Pictures: www.asiasourcing.net/ctpc89e/seatron
> Please see pictures for what the additional missing chips and un-used
> connectors are for:
> a) 3G connector
> b) Camera and OR second WI-FI - there is a second WI-FI below LCD - the
> connection is a USB
> The second wi-fi below screen is meant to be realtec model ...
> Does anyone have a second wi-fi on their machine?

 yes ... who was it? :)  _someone_ does :)

> c) GPS chip - yes the the design already accomodates a GPS module - if
> required,
> d) +0000 port on PCB - this they say is for monitoring and some data input
> ...

 that'll be the RS232 or the .... what's'it'called... JTAG.

> e) Space for a third wi-fi - but this chipset is more expensive than the
> PCIe version

 yes, it would be.

> 8. Web cam
> Seatron inform the 667MHz processor is too slow to use with a web cam .....

 absolute bollocks.

 no, the problem is that they are using a shite massively-hacked-up
version of the linux kernel, are bypassing many of the critical safety
features, aren't using the accelerated graphics capabilities of the
S3C6410 so of _course_ it's a fuck-up beyond all recognition.

> and have not got it to work properly anyway

 no shit sherlock! :)

> I have asked for samples of web cam they intend to use.


> 9. 10.2" version
> This is possible, but Seatron is not keen on the idea unless there is a real
> substantail order for this size.
> They would really like to sell their existing model since they have spent so
> much time on it!

 well duuH! :)  if they did some research first, they'd've found that
people aren't keen on 1024x600 screens because they're too frickin
small duuuH.

> With the upgrade of the so-dim with 1GHz and other features ... and now
> option of GPS - isn't this enough for an improved ST-PC89e?
> The 10" version is actually a brand new project.

 ... pretty much, yes.  re-tooling the case, resizing the motherboard.
 the only things you get to keep are the components and the netlist
from the PCB design.  oh, and the PCBA of course.

 it won't take long - it'll just cost a lot (plastic retooling...)

> I think we have two separate projects here - an 8.9" more or less the same
> as CT-PC89e and a flashy version with all the bells and whistles with 10" -
> 12" screen, sata, hdmi and anyhing else that is possible  .....

 oh - SATA + HDMI?  yep that's definitely a brand new project.

> I have taken the last 2 days of my time and money to pursue this further and
> I really hope I'm going to get some real orders for the ST-PC89E!! .........
> or any variation of it :-)

 me too, adam.

> If anyone has any additional input to give to Seatron ...please let me know
> and I will inform them ...

 leemote loongson.  they need to be aware of the advantages of working
with free software engineers.  the company leemote is collaborating
with the Free Software Foundation.  leemote's engineers are working
with free software developers, making use of their knowledge and
coding, to produce the necessary software and drivers.

 seatron _really_ need to know about this.

> The good news I have established a good raport with Seatron and we are going
> to get results (quickly - I hope) with them with a good dialogue ...
> So for the time being I think we should avoid GPL violation confrontation
> ...

 let's leave that to the FSF.  they're on the case, now.

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